CSIRO identifies six megatrends and the business opportunities in them

Limited supply of natural resources, a shift to Asia and an ageing population all present business opportunities, according to the CSIRO’s latest global megatrends report.

The CSIRO report was launched yesterday and it defines six megatrends that will substantially change the way people live.

Dr Stefan Hajkowicz of the CSIRO told SmartCompany that Australian businesses need to innovate to keep up with the fast changing world.

“The pace of change is so incredibly rapid that we are at a time in Australia when we have to really innovate,” he says.

“Today more than ever we have to innovate into a new space to remain competitive to ensure our children and grandchildren still enjoy a prosperous quality of life and it is up to businesses to do that.”

Here’s the opportunity for businesses in the six trends:

1. More from less

The CSIRO says the earth has limited supplies of natural mineral, energy, water and food resources essential for human survival and maintaining lifestyles.

“There will be a greater focus on efficiency because there is driving demand for limited natural resources like food resources, agricultural land is disappearing at a rate of 12 million hectares a year globally,” says Hajkowicz.

He says demand is ramping up and Asia is seeing unprecedented levels of economic growth, which is going to lead to a focus on renewables and increased demand for food resources.

“This means a focus on efficiency and coming up with better ways to get more from less, it may see a shift into renewables and increased efficiency in food production and potentially greater demand,” he says.

“As we see iron ore prices come down, food prices are not doing the same thing, they are spiking and going higher and most projections say they will continue to remain high.”

2. Going, going … gone?

The CSIRO warns many of the world’s natural habitats, plant species and animal species are in decline or at risk of extinction.

Hajkowicz says the coming decade is going to set the scene for biodiversity for the coming millennia and if we don’t act to save the species on the edge of extinction they will be lost forever.

“Business has an important role to play in thinking about the role it can play in preserving critical and endangered habitats and there are business opportunities in ecotourism for example,” he says.


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